Friday, March 05, 2010

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Posted by Chris @ 10:07 PM

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Baby number two!

Posted by Chris @ 9:36 PM

In case you didn't know Dawn's pregnant again. What you might not know is she told me on Christmas morning, and filmed it. Now the secret is out see the video here and be sure to read the description for the full details.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New sofa

Posted by Chris @ 8:24 PM

Coco Sofa
I've been promising Dawn we'd get a new sofa suite since we moved into our first house, as we have been using Mum and Dads old one. So, nearly 6 years on and in a different house I've finally relented!

We've gone for the Coco range (I know, the name couldn't be more perfect eh!), in Jumbo Chocolate. We've got a 3 seater, single chair and Cuddler Designer Swivel chair (essentially a large single chair that Dawn can't stop banging on about how comfy it is!)
3 seater

Cuddler Designer Swivel Chair

Single chair
So there you go, now we just have to wait 10 weeks for them to turn up.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Bloody connection fees and Pipex

Posted by Chris @ 7:41 PM

Gargh, as if moving house and getting to exchange of contracts hasn't been bad enough now comes the seemingly simple task of getting phone and broadband at the new house. How wrong can I be.

So, it turns out at the new house they use Talk Talk at the moment. Not my first choice for broadband and calls, that would be, but they would charge us £100 to connect the line. Plus they're more expensive than Talk Talk, so that's a bit of a let down. So, I thought I could get a BT line for calls, then get broadband from However, again, that pesky connection charge, this time from BT for £122.50 puts us off. So looks like we're stuck with TalkTalk, we'll have to see how that goes.

So anyway, I then cancelled the BT line at our current house, and the broadband and calls with Pipex. Only both companies have stupid inflexible systems in place. BT can only cancel your line after 14 days. Don't ask me why, but that means our phone line will be active for whoever moves into our house 3 days after we've moved out, and we're going to be liable for the cost of any calls. Ridiculous, thank God we don't think anyone will be moving in immediately. And what if we hadn't had 14 days notice of our moving day, we'd have been screwed.

And as for Pipex, it is worse! I phoned up, and from today then can only cancel the broadband in 30 days, but the calls bit will be cancelled in 3-5 days. How stupid is that, so I wouldn't be able to ring anyone, but still browse the web. And it gets worse. So I say we're moving out in 13 days, but he can't do anything. 30 days, that's it. So now our broadband will run until sometime in Oct, even tho the BT landline is going in 2 weeks, so completely unusable, yet I'm still getting billed for it. One big con. And for the calls bit, I have to ring up again in a few days to cancel those, 3-5 days before we move out. They can't set an end date for the calls, no, that would be too sensible. It's a shame, because as a broadband service they've been super reliable.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Charlotte walking

Posted by Chris @ 10:40 PM

The Easter weekend has been quite a momentous occasion for Charlotte, she has finally taken her first solo steps, and like a good Dad I've made sure I captured the events on video :o) Below is a short 30 sec clip, enjoy!

For those who like photos, there's a couple of those too!


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Developing at home, the proper way!

Posted by Chris @ 9:41 PM

At work we use Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server as our development environment. TFS in particular is really great, it provides source control and task management, perfect.

However, at home, when I'm coding sites like Recipe Binder and Track Playing, I use Visual Web Developer Express. This sadly doesn't support plugins, and there isn't a "TFS Express", so there isn't a way for me to protect my source code, or have change tracking. I've also found the various tasks I have for these websites scattered around, in emails, scraps of paper, and spreadsheets. I needed a way to backup my code, track my changes, and manage my tasks a bit better.

It sounded like a problem too far for a lone developer who wanted it all for free, however then I found this blog post by Trevor Power. He essentially had the same problem as me, and pointed me in the direction of 2 things, Subversion and Unfuddle.

Subversion I'd heard about before, but had never taken the plunge with it, simply because I'd not been able to find a suitable Subversion server to use (Google Code does it, along with a few others, but they require the projects to be open source).

Unfuddle on the other hand allows you to host unlimited Subversion repositories for free, with no restrictions about it being open source. But rather than just hosting my Subversion repository, it is also a project management tool, allowing me to create tickets and associate change sets with them, much like TFS does. It does a heap of other stuff too (which you can find out about via their tour), but I don't need those.

Unfuddle's free service, which is what I'm using, restricts you to just 1 project, and 200MB of space for your source code. However, source code being just text files, you're unlikely to hit that. The 1 project restriction isn't an issue either. Since you can create multiple Subversion repositories you can have one for each website you create. Then, within the project settings in Unfuddle you can create separate components - these you then name to represent each "project" you have, and assign your tickets accordingly. So, for example I have 1 main project, called "Chris Riley Projects", and within that I have a few components, "Track Playing", "Recipe Binder Facebook" and "Recipe Binder".

So, now when I have an idea or think of something I need to do I can create a ticket in Unfuddle, and then forget about it. And when I think about what I have to do, I have a list right there, that I can use just like my work item list in TFS. Then, when I "commit" changes to Subversion, I can associate that revision with a ticket, so that I know what changes were made for which ticket.

In terms of using Subversion, I'm using the TortoiseSVN Subversion client. This seems to be the most widely used client, and it is easy to see why. As you can't use plugins in Visual Studio Express you have to use it in Windows Explorer, but that isn't really an issue. Once you've got your files added to your repository, changed files are easily highlighted by TortoiseSVN, and you can commit back to the repository with ease. I'd go into more detail, but the best thing to do is to get acquainted with this excellent online Subversion book to understand the basics of Subversion, then install TortoiseSVN, read the help and get going!

So, all in all I now have my source code backed up, it is under change control so I know I won't loose previous work, and I have a way of working that means I don't have endless lists swimming around in my head. If this sounds anything like you, don't delay and get yourself sorted out!

Any questions on specific details fire away, I'll be happy to help if I can. I hope to post some more details about using Subversion at a later date as well, mainly my experiences with branching and merging, so keep an eye out for that.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Charlotte's new trick

Posted by Chris @ 9:25 PM

Charlotte has been a little behind the other children we know in terms of walking, she just needs to gain a bit more confidence on her own two feet. She has been happily crawling and cruising (walking supporting herself with furniture), but doesn't really stand unaided. Until now!

Today all our encouragement to help her to stand up from sitting has paid off. Of course in true Dad style I captured this on video for you all to see. I must apologise now for my voice, I'm in full on encouraging Dad mode ;o)

So the next step, quite literally, is baby steps!